Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blackberry Tiptoes

Update on the RIM v. NTP patent case: RIM now claims that they are ready to deploy technology that will skirt the NTP patents and allow the BlackBerry network to keep running even in the case of a loss in court.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don’t get it with these large companies like RIM. When an independent inventor approaches them with his patent and seeking a royalty, their very first instinct is to say no. Alternatively, they could have reviewed the patent with an open mind; perform their legal due diligence and make an intelligent decision. That decision should have been based on a few simple questions.

Are we infringing the patent now?
Will we likely infringe the patent in the future?
Is this a new business we would like to get into?
Then, answer the same questions about your competitor.

If the answer to any of the above is yes, proceed below and if No, tell the inventor that the patent is not related to your business, thank him and send him on his way.

Get pricing and terms and all options available for the patent (i.e. Can you buy it, or license it exclusively or non-exclusively and how much?).
Get a professional due diligence on the patent (is it valid?).
Assuming the patent has never been licensed to anyone else, you may want to consider buying it or taking an exclusive license. Before you make that decision, answer the following question: Would it be beneficial if you could monopolize whatever is covered by the patent? And, would it be detrimental to you if your competitor could monopolize whatever is covered by the patent? If the answer to either question is yes, you may want to consider buying the patent outright or taking an exclusive license.
If the answer to both questions is NO, you probably only need a nonexclusive license.

If you determine that you want to buy or license the patent, negotiate for the best price and terms before others do. The next guy always pays more.

Whatever you do, keep the following in mind: Most in-house engineers are negative when it comes to outside patents. They tend to believe that if they didn’t invent it, it’s no good. Many in-house patents attorneys do the same thing because it is normally their job to generate in-house patents and protect you from outside patents. It’s the old “Not Invented Here” syndrome.

Remember that this is a business decision, not a legal decision or an engineering decision. Do yourself a favor when evaluating patents, seek outside advice from an attorney that isn’t looking for a long court battle – Lawyers always win and you will be paying the tab

Iif you have decided to knowingly infringe, be prepared to pay 10s or even 100s or times more than you could have obtained a license for. The independent inventor is going to take it personally and there are many large law firms that will take his case for 35 – 50 percent of the settlement. Moreover, Juries tend to side with the independent inventor when they learn that the poor guy invested his life savings and lost his business because of large corporate infringers like you.

Don’t be surprised if RIM settlement reaches 1 billion dollars when they could have obtained a license for pennies per Blackberry handset.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous 12step5 said...

anonymous, this isn't really about small guy vs. big guy. I guess that is an interesting angle, but it has little bearing on whether the NTP patents are any good or not.

If the patents are overly broad, ambiguous, or covered things already embodied by prior art, they should have no effect on RIM or on anyone else. RIM correctly saw this. Apparently the USPTO now correctly sees this. NTP didn't -- they thought they could get away with extorting a huge chunk of money from an easy target based on murky claims of [what should be] and invalid patent monopoly. That's all there is too it.

Should RIM (or anyone) be forced to pay billions of dollars to support that kind of activity? Not in a just or reasonable world.

9:47 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home